Financial questions remain, but the NAB Joint Board conditionally approved a new broadcast lab at its Winter Meeting Jan. 12, raising the possibility of a serious industrywide commitment to improving the 8-VSB standard, testing digital IBOC technology and other DAB issues.
The lab proposal calls for a financial commitment of $6 million each from NAB and manufacturing members of the CEA over three years. Another $3 million, including matching funds, would come from the Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV).
Although most major broadcast interests appear to be supportive of the new lab, some industry observers familiar with details of the proposal question how the funding scheme might be sustained after start-up, suggesting the lab's long-term future has not yet been thought through.
"If you want something of this magnitude, how do you sustain it after three years?" asked one industry official who attended the NAB board meeting.
It's unclear why the Advanced Television Technology Center (ATTC) is not included in the new MSTV-NAB proposal. One official suggested the ATTC, which was the major lab for DTV tests in the 1990s under a slightly different name, might not be geared to handle new testing duties. That notion is disupted by ATTC head Paul DeGonia.
"I would like to point out that a lab already exists that can accomplish most of the MSTV goals," he said. "That laboratory is the ATTC."
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